Gifting flowers is one of the best ways to express a positive feeling that you have towards a person. While certain flowers, like red roses, are associated with romantic love, most flowers can be gifted in any context. You can give flowers to friends, parents, peers or any people whom you admire.
The beauty of these gifts lies in the fact that cut flowers are fleeting. As such, when you give flowers, you are not investing in a permanent gift. You are investing in the momentary joy that a person feels when receiving flowers as a gift.
One can say that gifting flowers is a symbolic gesture and the value of the flowers rarely matters. Nonetheless, in any market, there will always be exclusive desires and people willing to fulfill those desires for the right price. The rarer a flower is, the more expensive it will be.
In the following guide, we will present you with a list of the most luxurious flowers in the world. Before we dive into these exclusive plants, let’s see how flowers became such a popular gift in the first place. Where did it all start and how did the popularity of flowers expand all over the world?
The History of Giving Flowers
It is next to impossible to pinpoint the exact period in which people started giving flowers to people they cherish. Nonetheless, our history teaches us that flowers played an important part in the lives of our ancestors. We can trace back the habit of giving flowers to some of the oldest civilizations: the ancient Greeks and the ancient Egyptians. Flowers are part of many myths, being closely associated with the gods. The greeks and the Egyptians started by bringing flower offerings to the gods in temples. We lack a historical source that pinpoints the exact time when people transitioned from giving flowers to gods to giving them to people. However, we can assume that if the flowers were deemed as worthy gifts for the gods, it made sense that they were soon considered suitable gifts for beautiful women.
The habit of giving flowers continued to gain popularity throughout history. It really took off during Victorian times, when emotions were heavily suppressed. As such, flowers became a subtle way to express emotions, and each flower was given a particular meaning. Thus a secret language of the flowers emerged to allow people an emotional relief, in a time when genuine feelings were frowned upon. There is a certain poetry in associating flowers with feelings, as both are as fragile as they are beautiful. Eventually, the secret language of the flowers became too complex. As such numerous books were written to help people translate their feelings into flowers.
The Most Expensive Flowers in the World
The price of a flower is dictated by the market’s demand, and the demand is usually influenced by the rarity of a flower. The value of rare flowers can change in time if they become easier to come by or more uncommon. The following list contains flowers that are considered luxurious in our current time. We also included some flowers that were a luxury throughout certain moments in history.
1. The Kadupul Flower
This flower is considered by many to be the most expensive flower in the world, but it is actually the most elusive one. Its value is inestimable because it can’t really be gifted. This plant is also known as the Midnight Miracle, the Flower from Heaven, the Dutchman’s Pipe, or the Queen of the Night. It blooms at night and its bloom only survives a single night. To make matters even more tragic, it only blooms once a year.
If it is picked, it will survive less than an hour before fading away. As such, the only way to give this flower as a gift is to take a loved one on an adventurous quest to find it. There are two Kadupul species, both of which can be found in Sri Lanka. Epiphyllum Hookeri and Epiphyllum Oxypetalum are very similar. The main difference between them lies in the petals, as Oxypetalum has broader petals.
The Kadupul plant belongs to the Cactus family, and it is one of the most cultivated plants in its genus. The Kadupul flower is appreciated not only for its rarity but also for its striking fragrance. The flower develops on a twig no bigger than 12 cm. The flower is quite larger with a diameter that can range between 10 and 30 cm. The plant can have up to 30 flowers per shrub.
The bloom bears a slight resemblance to a white lily. This is a terrestrial plant but it often behaves like an epiphytic plant, clinging onto trees. However, it does not behave like a parasite. The Kadupul plant usually blooms on full moon nights. It can bloom anytime between November and March. It has a legendary reputation in Sri Lanka. It is believed that this plant was brought down from the heavens by the Nagas to honour Lord Buddha. The Nagas are semi-divine beings, half-human, and half-cobra.
2. Shenzhen Nongke Orchid
The Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is the most expensive flower ever sold. At an auction in 2005, a bidder paid 290,000 AUD to add this unique flower to their collection. This plant is said to be completely developed by men. It took 8 years for it to be developed at the Shenzhen Nongke University. As an avid flower enthusiast, you might be thinking that such a rare flower is worth the purchase for people who can afford it. But would you feel the same way if you knew that this flower only blooms once every 4-5 years?
The Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is indeed spectacular, and it is also edible. Its flowers are believed to have a delicate taste. The lack of information about this plant makes it even more desired among collectors. Other than the way it was created, its extravagant cost, and its blooming habits, not much is known about this orchid.
3. The Semper Augustus tulip
Sadly, this gorgeous tulip no longer exists but its reputation is so notable that we simply had to include it in our list of the most expensive flowers in the world. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the tulip mania, know that it was the first market bubble crash in history. The mere fact that the first market crash in history happened because of flowers shows the poetic nature of the human soul. The Tulip Mania happened during the Dutch Golden Age. As soon as they were introduced to Europe, tulips became incredibly popular due to their highly saturated colours. They soon became a symbol of status and their prices raised at an impressive rate.
During these manic times, there was one particular tulip variety that was more sought after than others. Variegated tulips were particularly popular and among them, the Semper Augustus Tulip was the most desired. Its white and carmine pattern gave it a flaming appearance. The prices became so extravagant that a single bulb was valued equal to the price of a grand house on the Amsterdam canal.
We can’t get our hands on the Semper Augustus tulip anymore, but there are thousands of tulip varieties available on the market. So don’t forget to read our complete guide to growing tulips.
4. The Juliet Rose
This exquisite rose was introduced in 2006. It was developed by David Austin, one of the most famous rose breeders in the world. The Juliet Rose was developed by mixing several roses. However, this was not your average breeding experiment. It took over 15 years and about $5 million to breed this rose. Nonetheless, the investment was worth it as the rose was sold in 2006 for £ 10 million.
The Juliet Rose is described as a peach rose with an apricot heart. The transition of the shades is gradient creating a delicate ombre look. It has a classic elegance and a light fragrance with a hint of tea. It has a full cup with voluminous petals. The Juliet Rose is described as a symbol of purity. This is why its name was inspired by the pristine protagonist of one of the most tragic love stories in history.
Can’t afford the Juliet rose? Don’t worry, you can still grow David Austin roses, so make sure you read our complete guide to English roses.
5. The Gold Of Kinabalu Orchid
The scientific name of this lavish orchid is Paphiopedilum rothschildianum. However, it is more commonly known as the Gold Of Kinabalu or Rothschild’s slipper orchid. Its common name is inspired by its native environment, Mount Kinabalu, located in Malaysia. The main reason why this orchid species is so expensive is that it is endangered. Not only is this flower hard to come by, but it matures incredibly slowly. It can take up to 15 years for it to grow its first bloom. As such, it doesn’t come as a shock that this orchid costs about $5000.
The Gold of Kinabalu orchid has a very unique appearance. It has green petals with crimson stripes. It has two vertical, elliptical-shaped petals and two long and thin side petals. It features semi-translucent light green leaves. A single plant can hold up to six blooms. It blooms from April to May and it can be found in rainforests at elevations ranging from 500 meters to 1200 meters above sea level. The bloom bears a slight resemblance to an insect, which is how it attracts pollinators.
6. Saffron Crocus
In the scientific community, this plant is known as Crocus sativus, but in the common world, it goes by the name of Saffron Crocus or Autumn Crocus. It belongs to the Iridaceae family, being related to the lovely iris. What makes this flower special is that its filaments are used for making saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. It takes about seventy thousand flowers to make a pound of saffron which is sold for around $1500.
This is an autumn-flowering perennial. It is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region as well as Iran and Asia minor. It is hard to pinpoint its exact native environment as it has been cultivated since ancient times. Nowadays, almost 80% of the world’s production comes from Spain and Iran.
Saffron crocus can reach a top height of 15 cm. It grows from corms like Gladiolus flowers. Each corm can grow several flowers that bloom in mid-autumn. The lilac flowers have 3 orange branches tipped with red stigmas. The stigmas are quite long and they usually extend beyond the petal cup. The flowers close at night and open again in the morning. Saffron Crocus can be grown in Mediterranean environments with long, dry summers. They need an average moisture level and well-drained soil. They thrive in full sun but can also handle partial shade.
While Saffron crocus is a very special plant, it is also difficult to come by. Instead, you can try your hand at growing Crocus plants that are more common, but just as attractive and delicate.
Even though it is considerably more expensive than most flowers, the Gardenia remains an affordable plant. Actually, it is very affordable if we are to compare it with the previously mentioned flowers. Its cost ranges between $20 and $60. This is not a rare flower, but it gained a reputation as an expensive wedding flower and it continues to uphold its status. Moreover, this plant can’t be bought by the stem, so you need to buy the whole plant.
The Gardenia is a delicate plant named after the Alexander Garden, the famous naturalist. It belongs to the Rubiaceae family. It is a shrub with lush dark green leaves and creamy white flowers. It is widely appreciated for the strong scent of its blooms.
As you can see humans’ love of flowers can drive them to make highly extravagant and irrational purchases. While reason can never justify paying more for a plant than one would pay for a home, nothing can stand in one’s way when their heart is set on a rare plant.
As we already mentioned, flowers are associated with emotion. The exorbitant prices of the flowers presented above show us that purchases are not driven by value but by emotion. Few of us can afford to buy one of the flowers presented above.
However, may these flowers serve as an example that a flower is never just a decorative item. So, whether you are buying it as a gift or you want it for yourself, pay attention to the secret language of each flower. Each plant comes with a unique energy that is bound to raise strong emotions.